Seasonal Selling: When To List Property On Sydney’s Northern Beaches

By Jonathan Fletcher

There is an ongoing belief that spring is the best time to sell property.

This phenomenon is sometimes called the Spring Blitz – the theory that the blue skies inspire buyers to attend inspections, while the sunny weather illuminates properties, highlighting their best features.

Selling in spring is popular on the Northern Beaches. But the truth about seasonal selling is much more nuanced than it appears and it’s important vendors do their research rather than just accepting the headlines.

Why Spring?

The appeal of spring is emotional. It’s a season that’s often associated with hope. The cold weather is easing off, so buyers are ready to attend inspections. Families looking to switch neighbourhoods are scoping out locations that they can settle into before the new school year commences. Also, many see the impending festive season as a deadline and want to be firmly relocated by the end of the year.

Why Not Spring?

Traditionally, the start of spring sees more properties on the market but this may not work to your advantage. Real estate is very much governed by supply and demand. Buyers who are spoiled for choice are unlikely to feel the pressure of exchanging contracts, and believe that they can easily move onto another property if they don’t meet the vendor’s price tag.

Even with this in mind, last year’s difference in listings between winter and spring was marginal. There was just a 0.3% increase in listings between August and September in 2018.

Buyers search for properties for a variety of personal and financial reasons and ultimately there are other factors such as interest rates, capital gains tax and first-home-owner grants that dictate the real estate market.

However, if spring is the best time to showcase your property here are some tips to make it look its best:

  • Get rid of any mould or other winter residues, ensure that the property is aired.
  • The sun is shining in spring, which means that your house should look lighter and airier. However, it also means that any dusty surfaces will catch the light. Make sure that every surface is polished and that there are no streaks on the glass.
  • Spring is a competitive time for vendors. You want to ensure that your grass looks greener and your garden is in top condition.
  • Consider hiring a stylist to guarantee that your property really stands out.

Here are some advantages to selling at other times in the year.

Autumn

Listing your property in autumn may work in your favour. Sydneysiders will have returned from their holidays, settled into a routine and know what they want from the year ahead.

The weather is pleasant – not too hot or cold. If your property has a garden or your street is lined with trees, there are few things more appealing than blue skies and sepia-toned leaves.

The mild weather may also disguise any issues with light and insulation. For homes that overheat in summer or are cold and dark in winter, autumn may prove to be a winning season.

Autumn is the second highest season for sales results in Sydney. In the past five years 9.9% of greater Sydney sales have occurred in March, 8.2% in April and 9.3% in May.

How to prepare your autumn property:

  • Make sure to really accentuate the garden, this involves raking leaves, pruning branches and ensuring that the vegetation looks healthy.
  • Decorate with seasonal greenery and aim to purchase mature plants – rather than seedlings.
  • Dress the windows – clean glass from streaks of summer rain, and add curtains for a cosy interior.
  • Ensure the property is well lit, this involves choosing the best inspection times as well as drawing curtains and blinds.

Summer

Summer is often perceived as a less ideal time to list your property. Everyone is time-poor from their Christmas socialising in December and are keen to escape Sydney in January.

But there are clear benefits to putting your home on the market during this time. For starters, it will stand out in an undersupplied market and appeal to buyers who don’t have the luxury of choice, and have to relocate for personal or financial reasons. Buyers are still looking online, even if they’re away on holidays.

Secondly, in the Northern Beaches, this time of year is when your property really stands out. The proximity to beaches and the sea breeze will really show buyers the benefits of the coastal lifestyle.

Prepare your property:

  • Schedule inspection times for early morning to avoid the heat
  • The yard can look dry at this time of year. Make sure that it’s watered regularly before the property gets listed
  • This is a time of the year to sell the outdoor lifestyle. Make sure entertainment areas are furnished to provide viewers with inspiration
  • Ensure that the house is cool. You may need to close curtains until just before the inspection commences
  • People are notoriously busy at this time of year. Give prospective buyers a variety of inspection times to view your property.

Winter

Selling in winter all depends on what the market is doing. For example, a buyer who needs to move because their brood is expanding will not be deterred by rainy or cold weather, nor will a former vendor who has recently sold their home and now has nowhere to go.

Last winter there were 8% less listings in winter than in autumn and sales were also down 17%. However, the clearance rate from winter auctions was 49.8% – which was higher than spring’s 44.7%.

With less properties on the market, a winter listing may stand out to a motivated buyer.

Properties with cosy features, like fireplaces and soft furnishings usually do well during this time.

Tips for selling in winter:

  • Choose an inspection time that makes the most of available daylight
  • Preheat any chilly spaces
  • Make sure your home looks as cosy as possible
  • If you invest in one feature make it lighting. At this time of year, it can make a real difference.

And finally…

There are pros and cons to selling in any season. Ultimately, the right time to sell depends on your own circumstances and what’s right for you.

If you’re looking to buy or sell on the Northern Beaches contact my team today.